Given the importance of religion in Sarah Palin's life, it's not surprising that her ways of talking are full of echoes or allusions that others may not understand or even notice. Earlier today I discussed her phrase "I know that I know that I know this is the right thing for Alaska". The same interview contained a phrase that may well allude to the book of Esther.
Kate Snow: Is it possible, governor, that this could be the end of your political career?
Sarah Palin: I said before – I stood in front of the mic the other day, you know, politically speaking, if I die, I die. I- so be it.
Compare Esther 4:14-15:
King James version:
Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer,
Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.
Translation by Eugene H. Peterson (The Message):
Esther sent back her answer to Mordecai: "Go and get all the Jews living in Susa together. Fast for me. Don't eat or drink for three days, either day or night. I and my maids will fast with you. If you will do this, I'll go to the king, even though it's forbidden. If I die, I die."
[Update 7/8/2009 — As evidence that the connection with Esther is one that comes easily to mind for people who see political action in biblical terms, here's a June 25 passage from the blog of "Coach" Dave Daubenmire, "founder and President of Pass The Salt Ministries and Minutemen United"
Let’s be honest here, Sarah Palin was the only reason that John McCain didn’t get Walter Mondaled. Most evangelicals voted for Sarah Palin, not Juan McCrud. As I loved to explain to my friends, Sarah Palin was God’s man.
Just like in the times of Esther there didn’t seem to be a man to do the job. Like the young shepherd boy David, Mrs. Palin had toiled faithfully in obscurity of Alaska sharpening the down- home, mom and pop values which connected in the heartland like David’s stone to the forehead of the biblical bully from Gath.
The metaphorical equation of Sarah Palin's impact on the Republican base and the stone's impact on Goliath's forehead is one that Coach Daubenmire might, on reflection, decide to withdraw. But I think he'd stick with idea of Sarah Palin as Esther, stepping forward to save God's people because of the opportunity afforded by her beauty.
Or read "Esther's First Impression Changed the World", in the Women's Ministries Unlimited section of the Assemblies of God USA web site:
[T]he king's search committee launched a crusade to find the most beautiful women to serve the king [...] We have all had paramount interviews. Esther's was essentially a beauty contest, but God uses beauty for a greater purpose. [...]
Esther had a high calling to influence King Xerxes. To approach the king was unlawful, and the punishment could be death. In some ways, you could consider this a second first impression with much higher stakes.
"If I perish, I perish," she said. Esther's courage, conviction, and trust in the Lord would save a whole lineage of people. She could not be silent.
Queen Esther must have clothed herself in pure elegance, for the king extended the golden scepter and offered her half the kingdom! Clearly, the impression she made on the king saved her people.
How astonishing is God's sovereignty over all his people! May we, like Esther, open ourselves to being used by God—beginning with making a favorable first impression. Who knows? It might just change the world.
And resigning "to usher in what it is that needs to be done in our state or our country" can certainly be seen as trying for "a second first impression with much higher stakes". ]
[For discussion of a case where George W. Bush used a phrase with possible religious resonances, called by some "dog whistle politics", see here.]